From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—This collection of stories primarily from British authors focuses on the ability of teens not only to deal with the problems that life brings, but also to triumph over them. Authors include Lois Lowry, Anne Fine, Celia Rees, Melvin Burgess, and Meg Rosoff. The characters are middle-class kids who struggle with myriad challenges and changes, some of which are foisted upon them and some that are of their own doing. Meg Cabot's story, in which Allie Finklestein finds that being dumped by a questionable boyfriend isn't the worst thing in the world, especially when you are already halfway in love with your nerdy tutor, is the only humorous selection. Other stories revolve around more serious topics such as telling your family you're gay, learning about a parent's affair, and discovering that your sister is terminally ill. The best stories are those in which the main character must cope with a physical disability. In Malorie Blackman's "Humming Through My Fingers," a well-adjusted girl who became blind because of diabetes teaches a boy a thing or two about sight and trust after he asks her out on a dare. In Rosie Rushton's "Skin Deep," a girl who is disfigured from a bomb explosion learns that some boys actually like you for who you are as a person, not just for your looks. The stories show courage, creativity, and a core of toughness that is not always attributed to young adults.—Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC
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Teenagers cope with a wide range of difficulties in these 11 well-crafted short stories, some old and some new, by well-known British and American authors. One girl is blind, another has a devastating accident. Ghost children wanting a mother threaten the life of a third. Breaking up with a boyfriend, discovering your grandmother is a person, and planning how to come out to your family are among the growing-up processes highlighted by the entries. An introduction by Lois Lowry explains the collection's loose theme of "fighting through to find one's place"; Lowry also contributes a chapter from A Summer to Die (1977). Other authors include Meg Cabot, Melvin Burgess, Anne Fine, Sue Limb, Jacqueline Wilson, Celia Rees, Malorie Blackman, Rosie Rushton, and Cathy Hopkins. Linked to pediatric cancer charities that will benefit from the book's sales, this solid collection is sure to be enjoyed by readers, many of whom will want to seek out more by these stars. Isaacs, Kathleen